House debates

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


Victoria: Economy

9:20 pm

Photo of Andrew GilesAndrew Giles (Scullin, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

As you would be well aware, Mr Acting Deputy Speaker Broadbent, this week marks the first anniversary of the election of the Andrews government in Victoria. It is an important occasion to mark, not least because it is in the company of the minister at the table, who I enjoyed listening to in respect of his commentary on that election night. I am pleased to see things have improved for him in some regard, and he should consider himself very fortunate to live in the state of Victoria under the Andrews government. It is an important anniversary to mark in this place—

Mr Frydenberg interjecting

and the minister should listen—because it shows the difference that a change in government and a change in leadership can make when it is a real change, a change of substance and not simply of style. It also shows how people in Victoria have responded to a clearly articulated vision for our state and its capital, Melbourne, after four wasted years under Baillieu and Napthine, especially in the northern suburbs.

One year ago, I was proud of the hard-won elections of Vicki Ward in Eltham and of Danielle Green in Yan Yean against an overwhelming weight of resources and, of course, of the returns of Lily D'Ambrosio in Mill Park, Colin Brooks in Bundoora and Bronwyn Halfpenny in Thomastown. But since then I am much prouder. What a difference we have seen in Victoria! Much needed infrastructure projects that are so important to the electors of Scullin are underway. I think in particular of the Mernda rail project, which is under consultation now. It is an incredibly significant linkage for people in the northern corridor. I think of the duplication of Yan Yean Road. It is much needed and long overdue. Even in very recent days, I think of the very strong support we have been getting from the Premier for the O'Herns Road interchange with the Hume Freeway, a project that the current federal government would do well to get behind sooner rather than later.

All of these local transport initiatives are of course complemented by the wider congestion-busting initiative that is so critical to keeping Melbourne as the world's most liveable city. I think of the Melbourne Metro project that was, again, cruelly delayed by the former Prime Minister's ideological aversion to public transport. I think about the level crossing removal project which will do so much for our productivity. I think of the commitment to our growth areas demonstrated to me only Friday night at the Barry Road Community Activity Centre, one of many projects supported by the Interface Growth Fund, giving local communities vital local infrastructure.

I also think of the plan for jobs and, with it, very sound economic management. I note and advise the House that unemployment in Victoria has fallen dramatically—from 6.8 per cent in October 2014 to 5.6 per cent today. This is so important to the communities I represent, which have been devastated by job losses in manufacturing, exacerbated by decisions of this government. Sectoral plans, such as that for food and beverage, will make a difference and will harness the great skills in the north for the jobs of the future. Hope and promise are being offered for our manufacturers.

I think of the critical investments in northern health and in health care generally. I think of a government which ended the cruel and unnecessary war on paramedics that was prosecuted under the coalition government which preceded it. Investments in education will be transformative in the north as well as right around Melbourne. We are seeing some local schools being transformed. I think in particular of the $6 million investment in Mill Park Secondary College. It is impossible to ignore the impact of the attack on TAFEs, a matter that members of this government should also be concerned about as we debate changes to VET FEE-HELP in this place. The reopening of the Greensborough campus of the Melbourne Polytechnic will make a difference and open up a variety of pathways for students.

It was Daniel Andrews, of course, who showed real leadership in the area of family violence, putting forward from opposition the concept of a royal commission and making a bold commitment to implement every one of its recommendations. I think of the equality agenda the government has initiated—again, something members of the government in this place should pay heed to. The appointment of a minister for equality, the introduction of adoption equality, the proposition the government forged to be equally comprised of women and men, the steadfast leadership Daniel Andrews has shown in standing up for respect and inclusion to be equally applied to all Victorians was demonstrated in recent days by the important passage of law to secure safe access zones and fundamentally the difference that Daniel Andrews has made in standing up for politics based on trust is something that this government should heed. Every promise made before the election has been implemented. This is so important to rebuild faith in politics.

So I congratulate the Andrews government, the Premier and all of his team on their achievements to date. They have been getting on with the job of putting people first. If only other governments would follow this example.